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his responsibilities. german cardinal joseph ratzinger became pope in 2405. he was the oldest person to become the pontiff. he strongly opposed birth control but embraced new forms of communication and joined twitter. he faced a string of challenges from sexual abuse scandals involving members of clergy to an investigation of money laundering in vatican city. a court convicted his former butler of stealing and leaking classified documents that pointed to corruption in the vatican. the pope pardoned him over christmas. it's rare for a pope to resign. pope benedict is the first to quit in nearly 600 years. senior members of the catholic church will start planning their conclave, the meeting they hold to choose a successor. catholics make up a small portion of the japanese population, still, they have been surprised by the pope's resignation. peter tekao okeda became archbishop in japan, has visited the vatican twice and was shot when he heard about the resignation. >> translator: i couldn't believe the news. we didn't see it coming. i was hoping the pope would continue, despite his age
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